Local work forces are safe, healthy and enjoy quality work life through business building capacity of their workforce and operations to adapt to a changing climate.

Goal Feedback 3.2

Improving worker health outcomes from direct effects of climate change

Improving worker health outcomes from the direct effects of climate change is essential.

Climate change will create a situation where workers will be more exposed to heatwaves, extreme weather, storms and bushfire. As well as pollen storms, increased UV, and communicable vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. In September 2016, above-average rainfall occurred in Australia. This rainfall anomaly led to widespread flooding across large parts of Victoria, particularly in our region. Victoria experienced a large outbreak Ross River Virus between October 2016 and April 2017. 1,974 human cases were reported, which was nearly 10 times greater than the historical mean of 204 cases per year.

Hotter summers may impact the thermal comfort and productivity of employees in offices and those that work outdoors. If not managed, employees with underlying health conditions could be at risk. During the 2009 heatwave, we saw a 25% increase in total emergency cases and a 46% increase over the three hottest days. For Emergency departments, a 12% overall increase in presentations, 8-fold increase in direct heat-related illnesses and a 3-fold increase in patients dead on arrival. These events also impact many of the 20,000 plus health workers in our region who respond to help their community.

Employers need to think about climate change impacts on their workforce directly or indirectly through increased demands for services.

Objective Feedback 3.3.1

Improving worker health outcomes as a result of impacts of climate change on job insecurity

Mental health challenges associated with job insecurity is a significant concern for our region.

Those employed and working on the land and running tourism-related operations are particularly vulnerable to a changing climate.

As new industries and technologies emerge over the next decade in response to a low carbon future transition, so will job insecurity. Traditional jobs might be made redundant by technology, and potential risk will rise from new industrial processes.

Employers and governments need to plan and mitigate mental health issues driven by job insecurity in a considered way rather than reacting to market failures or natural disasters.

Objective Feedback 3.3.2

Improving worker safety outcomes in a climate change

Safety for workers can be at risk in a changing climate.

Heatwaves will degrade infrastructure; flood, storms and fires will create hazards; and heatwaves to reduce workers’ ability to be vigilant. Workers working outdoors will be the most vulnerable.

Its important for employees and employers to have conversations, recognise potential risk, and create plans and procedures to ensure they have safe working environments in a changing climate.

Objective Feedback 3.3.3